FC Dallas cuts down the Portland Timbers

The Portland Timbers extended their MLS winless streak to five games as they were humbled 0-4 by FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday evening.

The Portland Timbers extended their MLS winless streak to five games as they were humbled 0-4 by FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday evening. Dallas thoroughly dominated the Timbers, scoring two goals in each half, as Portland (5-7-3, 18 points) now drops to seventh place in the tightly-contested Western Conference. Dallas (9-4-4, 31 points) leapt to the second spot following the win.

Timbers head coach John Spencer felt let down by his team’s effort. “I don’t think there were any positives,” Spencer said. “Very disappointed towards the end by the effort because I felt at times, we just laid down and died.”

Spencer’s criticism was justified as Dallas dominated Portland in almost every offensive category. Dallas out-shot the Timbers 21-7 and had eight corner-kick opportunities compared to Portland’s single corner kick attempt.

Although Portland enjoyed better possession (52 percent to 48 percent), they could not convert it into goal scoring opportunities. The game was played in searing 95-degree conditions.

“You can make excuses all you want about the heat, the humidity and whatever. The heat didn’t affect Dallas,” Spencer said. “Their guys felt just as hot as our guys. But the difference was they were willing to run through that pain, and they did a good job.”

The Timbers were coming off a scintillating 3-3 draw against the New York Red Bulls while FC Dallas won their previous match 2-1 against Chivas USA.

FC Dallas took the lead in the 33rd minute with a goal by Zach Loyd off a corner kick and then doubled their lead five minutes later through a score by George John. Dallas’ Daniel Hernandez provided the assist for both the goals. In the second half, Dallas repeated their scoring feat, breaching the Timbers defense twice again. Brek Shea scored in the 58th minute and Ruben Luna added insult to injury in the 85th minute.

“From the first minute to the last minute, I don’t think there was one player that pulled on a green jersey tonight that was a threat to Dallas,” Spencer said. “They handled us pretty well…manhandled us. That’s what happens when you’re not ready to play.”

The last time the two sides met was in April at Jeld-Wen Field. On that occasion, the Timbers defeated Dallas 3-2 to record their second MLS win. However, this time Timbers forward Kenny Cooper’s return to his former club didn’t go as well as he had wished.

“Definitely disappointed. Obviously, it’s nice to come back to a place where I played for a long time, but it’s definitely not the result that we were looking for,” said Cooper, who played for FC Dallas from 2006 to 2009.

The Timbers now have a 0-5-2 record away from home and have taken just one point from their last five league matches. This is in stark contrast to their home form this season, where Portland has a 5-2-1 record.

Spencer believes that consistency will come with time and that experience will help the Timbers compete with top teams in the league. In their first MLS season, Portland has shown both flashes of brilliance as well as their share of mediocre moments.

“That comes with experience,” Spencer said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who haven’t played at this level before, and some guys that were in and out of this level. It’s a big ask.

“If you look at teams like the Galaxy, they’ll probably tell you that they don’t play well every week, but they’re consistent at a certain level,” he said. “They’re consistently good and threatening and scoring goals—and consistently good at keeping the ball.”

Next up for the Timbers is a game against Sporting Kansas at home this Saturday, July 2.

“I believe in this group. I have a lot of confidence in our coaches and my teammates,” Cooper said. “I believe that we’re going to get back on track. Hopefully, we can do that next weekend.”  ?